An initiative which aims to further break down barriers will give women 30 and under free access to healthcare.

Run by Totara Health, the programme offers free doctor and nurse consultations for all women 30 and under who are enrolled with Totara Health at both their Flaxmere and Hastings sites.

For clinical director Dr Sandra Jessop, the cause is particularly close to her heart.

After 30 years in Flaxmere, she has seen countless young woman putting the needs of their whānau first, often at the expense of their own well-being.

Woman under 30 years of age will now be eligible for free Doctor and Nurse consults at the two Totara Health sites in Flaxmere and Hastings. Totara Health Clincial Director, Sandra Jessop believes by removing cost as a barrier, Totara supports young women in the community to be able to look after their own health as well as the health of their whānau and ultimately enjoy the benefits that good health provides.

Fifteen years ago she formed the low-cost high quality general practice primary care provider.

And now, by removing cost as a barrier, she hopes more young woman will be able to have regular check ups and enjoy the benefits that good health provides.

"We decided as a business that we needed to do something more than we were already doing - we already have free consults for those under 18.

"In supporting young women to be as well as they can be, we support their children and that is a deeply satisfying thought for all of us at Totara Health."

Currently 1600 women between the ages of 18 and 30 are enrolled at Totara Health, and will therefore be immediately impacted.

Health Hawke's Bay's Māori Health Manager Lillian Ward shared similar sentiments, noting that it is a "great initiative for young mothers and their whānau as it assists in tamariki getting the best start in life".

"Within Te Ao Māori women are the kaitiaki for future generations, this initiative highlights and supports the importance of healthy mothers, sisters and aunties, if we are healthy then we are able to care for our whanau whanui."

Since publicising the offer through the Flaxmere Heroes Calendar in December, Jessop says the response has been overwhelming.


While it is hard to measure the impact, Jessop hopes they will see an increased use by woman.

Hastings councillor for Flaxmere and Hastings Ambassador, Henare O'Keefe believes it will "alleviate a lot of stress for many of our people".

"We all know the hardship that a lot of families are faced with and Totara Health realise that there are families that just don't go to the doctor because they can't afford it," O'Keefe said.

"I congratulate Totara Health for having the vision and foresight to do that."